Aquaflow Services has been given a huge boost thanks to business advisors, Champion Accountants, identifying a £575,000 spend on Research and Development (R&D).

The 24-hour emergency plumbing and drainage specialist based in Canterbury serves some of London’s largest blue chip organisations including hospitals, police and fire stations and leading banks.

To remain ahead of the competition and meet changing client needs, Aquaflow Services develop and deliver innovative drainage solutions for challenging environments. Its work includes the HMS Belfast on the River Thames and the Canada Square skyscraper in Canary Wharf, home to the HSBC Group, which was originally designed for 6,000 staff but now holds double this figure.

Having never submitted an R&D tax relief claim previously, Champion Accountants identified qualifying R&D activities over the company’s last two tax years. A total R&D investment of £576,000 was identified and £150,000 claimed back in tax credits to fuel future growth.

Keith Borrett, managing director at Aquaflow Services, said: “Our last accountant had never told us about R&D and our eligibility to claim. Champion came highly recommended and they didn’t disappoint.

“The entire process was really simple and it’s made us rethink our R&D activities and we’re now having regular internal meetings to see what more we can do in terms of research and development and developing new innovative solutions to bring to market.”

So far, Champion Accountants has identified more than £15million in R&D for businesses across the country, with a 100 per cent success rate.

Despite the growing demand for R&D services, many potential claimants, particularly SMEs, are losing out by overlooking R&D. Recent figures from HMRC shows that only 17,135 SMEs claimed R&D relief in 2016 – a minute number when the UK is home to 5.4 million small and medium businesses.

The type of activity that qualifies is wide-ranging, from solving customer problems, development of new products to adapting internal processes, with many businesses unknowingly performing R&D tasks on a daily basis.

R&D tax relief enables businesses to claim £46 for every £100 spent on qualifying costs, including wages, materials, overheads and software, as well as the ability to claim cash back from HMRC. Any loss-making SMEs that are yet to make a profit can also claim £33 for every £100 invested in R&D.

First time claims can also include R&D spends over the last two financial years. For example, a company with an accounting year ending on 31 December 2015 has until 31 December 2017 to submit a claim.

David Herd, R&D tax advisor at Champion Accountants, added: “There are plenty of myths out there about R&D tax credits, yet it’s broader than so many realise. Sectors like food and beverages and manufacturing, for example, are actually some of the biggest investors in R&D because they need cutting-edge technology and processes.

“Clients often say it’s too good to be true and it will take a lot of time and resource to put in a claim, which again, isn’t correct. We’ve been advising businesses for a number of years and understand the intricacies of R&D, meaning that we can often decide in less than 15 minutes whether a claim is worth progressing.

“My advice to every business is to approach R&D with an open mind. All it takes is a quick call that could potentially lead to thousands in savings and play a big part in boosting your bottom line.”